- AB InBev brand Natural Light Seltzer will start running TV ads around college football games airing on networks Fox, Fox 1 Sports and CBS this weekend, according to Ad Age. The brand recently became the official hard seltzer of the Big 12 conference, and the effort will mark its first batch of TV advertising.
- Developed with VaynerMedia, the creative continues Natural Light Seltzer's messaging around "crashing the party hard." One spot shows a college marching band interrupting a boat party and then breaking into a fight song at the behest of one of the attendees.
- Natural Light Seltzer, which debuted in August, is another attempt by AB InBev to break into the spiked seltzer category. Bon & Viv, a brand the brewer purchased in 2016, commands an 8% share of the market, per Nielsen data cited by Ad Age. Sluggish consumer interest comes despite Bon & Viv, formerly known as Spiked Seltzer, running a Super Bowl campaign earlier this year. Mark Anthony Brands-owned White Claw on the other hand has a 54% market share, and Boston Beer Co.'s Truly has 29%.
AB InBev is leveraging its sizable spending power and the peak of college football season to stake out a larger claim of the red-hot spiked seltzer category, whose sales are forecast to reach $2.5 billion by 2021. While the brewing giant has previously lagged behind rivals despite heavily marketing offerings like Bon & Viv, the TV advertising blitz for Natural Light Seltzer could arrive at a more opportune time.
White Claw's immense popularity, largely driven by positive word-of-mouth and viral memes, has resulted in some product shortages. The brand has subsequently cut its media spending by around 30% in the past seven months, according to a recent Kantar analysis.
Though White Claw continues to be the market leader by a significant margin, Natural Light Seltzer could use the relative quiet period for the Mark Anthony Brands label to its advantage. The move fits in with the fledgling entrant's broader positioning as a disruptor, which is reflected in its "crash the party" messaging.
The new TV creative continues themes established around Natural Light Seltzer's launch, which included landing a helicopter on a branded yacht during the Catalina Wine Mixer — an event itself inspired by a joke in the movie "Step Brothers." The stunt was led by comedian Trevor Wallace, who previously released a viral parody video promoting White Claw but is now a brand ambassador for Natural Light's Catalina Lime Mixer variant.
As a seltzer marketing war bubbles up between White Claw and Natural Light, No. 2 Truly has adopted a slightly different approach. The brand in August rolled out a campaign with actor Keegan-Michael Key humorously taking swipes at alternative alcoholic beverages like beer, wine and spirits. The effort was the first to be helmed by Boston Beer Company CMO Lesya Lysyj, who joined the company in March.
However, Truly and sister brand Sam Adams recently put out RFPs for new creative agency partners in the U.S., Campaign reported, indicating the seltzer brand could switch up its messaging strategy in the future.
Despite being favored by digital-first younger consumer groups like millennials, spiked seltzer brands have centered much of their marketing on TV and traditional media. White Claw spent 91% of its tracked media budget on cable, per Kantar, and the broader category puts 75% of spending toward the channel.